Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller, of Swansea, is the favorite to win the Calder Trophy, awarded annually to the top rookie in the National Hockey League.
This is according to USA Today’s Kevin Allen, who ranked the top 15 candidates for the award. Allen compared Keller to Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, who has racked up 752 points (285 goals, 467 assists) in a 10-year career.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Keller, 19, made his NHL debut last season. The seventh overall pick in the 2016 entry draft signed with the Coyotes on March 26 and played in his first game the next night, a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. Keller picked up an assist against the Blues in a 3-1 loss March 29 in Phoenix.
Keller also posted an an assist April 4 against the Dallas Stars in the Coyotes’ 3-2 defeat. As of Monday, Keller was listed on the Coyotes roster for their season opener Thursday at Anaheim.
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Keller starred at Boston University, where he racked up 21 goals and 24 assists in 31 games to win the Hockey East Rookie of the Year award for 2016-17.
Yahoo! Sports has ranked Keller the No. 1 rookie entering the season.
Keller is the son of Bryan and Kelly Keller, who reside in Swansea.
The Coyotes open the season at 9 p.m. Thursday at Anaheim.